"My boss" is a general term for the person who is in charge of me.

I am looking for a general term for the person who I am in charge of.

For example, "he is my subordinate/employee" but "subordinate/employee" is too formal.

In Vietnamese, we say "he is my soldier" (literally translated from Vietnamese). This means he works under me or I am in charge of him, not actually talking about a soldier in the army.

Do we have such a word like that in English?

2 Answers 2


A common term in the commercial business world (not usually on a farm, for example) is “direct report”. Of course, this implies that the subordinate reports directly to the superior.

I am his boss, and he is my direct report.

  • "direct report" sounds like a British term. Do American people say it?
    – Tom
    Apr 29, 2022 at 2:21
  • Yes, it is frequently used here in New York. In fact, I was worried that it might not be used in Britain, but the linked definition says both US and UK. Apr 29, 2022 at 2:24
  • But, "my boss" can be used in non-business setup. For example, my friend and I are investigating a case and he plans everything and I just do as he says. Can I say "I am his direct report"?
    – Tom
    Apr 29, 2022 at 2:31
  • No, you are not the direct report of your friend except perhaps in a figurative sense. That term is usually used only in a work environment. Apr 29, 2022 at 2:41

These are many alternatives for "subordinates" and "people under me": staff, team, team members, teammates, workers, assistants, associates, individual contributors. Another excellent option is to use people's job titles!

Source: Business Writing

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